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Kenya is sending official to resolve Kenyans’ SA visa concerns

Kenya is sending official to resolve Kenyans’ SA visa concerns

Kenya Is Sending Official To Resolve Kenyans’ SA Visa Concerns

Earlier this week Kenya announced that their Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed will be traveling to South Africa in September in a bid to resolve visa problems faced by Kenyans in the country.

Kenya’s Capital News reported, from the capital Nairobi, that the Kenyan Foreign Affairs Secretary warned that, should the visa problems remain unresolved, tensions between the two countries could impact on the economic relationship of between Kenya and South Africa.

Speaking in a press statement on 27 August 2014 the secretary said of Kenya’s economic diplomacy, “The meeting is scheduled before the United Nations General Assembly – not after or during – because the intention of the government is to get a clear direction by the end of September.”

Kenya has on previous occasions indicated that should the two countries be unable to reach a resolve Kenya will go ahead with the planned implementation of strict new visa rules for South Africans planning on entering that country.

Kenyan officials have said that they are reacting to the new South African visa regulations which came into effect on 26 May this year. Kenya’s reciprocal visa move is set to be employed on Monday, 1 September 2014.

Speaking to Kenya’s Capital News, Mohamed said, “They [the South African Department of Home Affairs] will either have to remove the restrictions they have placed on us so that we are at the same level or we are going to impose the exact requirements that they require of us.”

To the relieve of South Africans travelling to Kenya on holiday or business Kenya announced two weeks ago that they would delay the implementation of their travel regulations on South Africans based on the outcome of the scheduled talks. Kenyans criticized their own country for doing this saying South Africa did not return the favour to Kenyans traveling into the Republic.

In reaction to the criticism Mohamed has insited that the leniency was to allow South Africans who had already booked holidays and business travel to travel into Kenya legally and with ease.

“It was a group of professionals who had planned to travel to Kenya nine months ago. They had done everything, paid for their travel, tickets, and it was a big group. Tourism players requested that we allow them in because of the current drop in the industry, as we continue with our talks,” she clarified.

“These people were actually coming in this last week and this week during the migration (at the Maasai Mara).”

Both countries have their visa regulations drawing a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits.

The new South African travel laws means that Kenyans applying for a South African visa of up to 30 days stay is required to pay a service charge in addition to their visa fee.

If Kenya imposes its requirements, South Africans will also pay a large fee for a 30-day visa, among their restrictions. South African will also be required to make a physical appearance at the Kenyan embassy where these visa are currently being issued at Kenya’s points of entry.

Before the laws were introduced Kenyans would get a free visa if they were staying for less than 30 days in South Africa but required no visa if they were transiting through any South African airports while South Africans did not require a visa for a 30-day stay in Kenya.

 

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